The AP sure has swatted a hornet’s nest.
I’m as indignant as the rest of the blogosphere at the notion that we’d have to pay to license 5-word quotations (and they reserve the right to terminate the license), but the fact is they’re not going to enforce that agreement — they said as much over and over again — possibly taking chief critic Jeff Jarvis’ one last bit of advice before he got on his plane. (Would that the RIAA were as responsive, right Michael?)
But then Jarvis, in his proposed link ethic for AP, speaks very highly of them:
Now let me make clear that the AP is no idiot. Jim Kennedy, its head of strategy, who responded to my rant in the comments and has done so on other blogs, has the best strategic mind in the industry (if only there were more of him). He has inspired much of my thinking about the ecology of links in news. Tom Curley, his boss, has spoken eloquently about the need to separate content from the container — to, indeed, look at new means to distribute news (by blog quotes and links among them, I’d say). The AP has been dealing with issues of credit for years when TV stations pick up stories reported by newspapers and then rewritten by the AP, giving no credit to the source; the same happens with photos, as someone said in my comments.
No, the AP is no fool. But it acted like one in this episode. I wanted to throttle them. And so I did.
Now that the AP has responded, Jeff is incommunicado.
They made a misstep. They backed off immediately. They are seeking a solution.
Michael Masnick and others may not be happy that “some guy” representing “some blogging ‘group’” they’ve never heard of are meeting, but I am. If they can come up with something reasonable, that’s fine with me. Someone’s got to!
I don’t expect them to, but I do expect that they will make progress. That’s a start.
Meanwhile, if we’re going to get all fired up about the fine print in the AP Terms of Service, why don’t we take a look at everyone else’s? Or the legally binding non-leaky clickthrough agreements that pop up everywhere we go? Those things are as insidious and as selectively enforceable.
It’s a big bad target-rich digital world out there. The ones who are smart enough to read the writing on the wall and work with me are the ones I’m going to try to work with. Keep my guard up, but try to work with.